For many of us, the recent winter holidays bring joy, excitement, special time and special memories with family members. But for
many others, it is a time of anxiety, stress, fear. Consider these sobering statistics:
1 in 4 women in the United States
has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
37% of women who sought treatment in
emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were injured by a current or
former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend.
A woman who leaves her abusive
partner has a 50% chance of seeing her standard of living drop below the
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined.
In the Chicago area alone in past few weeks reports included; a woman who was stabbed, then set on fire, along with her children, by her abusive partner; a
woman stabbed to death by her husband as their young daughter listened in
horror from the next room; a woman beaten to death by her husband and left in the front yard of their home. These are just a few of the many reports of
domestic violence in the news in recent weeks. This is just what is reported—imagine what goes unreported —yes, this is happening every day, in all of our communities, not only in “bad neighborhoods.” The perpetrators of
domestic violence come from all walks of life, all socio-economic levels, all
educational backgrounds, as do their abused victims.
South Suburban Family Shelter ( SSFS) has been working tirelessly for over 32 years to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence and their
families. These services include: 24-Hour Hotline, Emergency Shelter,
Counseling for adult victims and their children, Court Advocacy, Medical
Advocacy, Abuser Intervention program, Prevention program, Safe from the Start, professional trainings. All victim services are provided free of charge. There
are many agencies in the Chicago area that provide similar services to victims
of domestic violence.
Domestic violence affects all of us— every
family, every workplace, every community.
Each one of us can, and should, play a role in ending this abuse. There are a number of ways you can help,
Organizing a collection drive—there
are a number of things needed at these organizations.
Distributing/ displaying brochures
and posters in your place of work, where you worship, where you shop, anywhere
in your community.
Organizing an informational meeting/
training to learn more about domestic violence dynamics and the services
available to victims and their families.
If you know someone, or suspect someone you know
is in an abusive relationship, be a resource for them. Don’t be afraid to let
the victim know you are concerned about them, that they are not alone, that
there is help for them.
I encourage you to visit the South Suburban
Family Shelter website at: www.ssfs1.org, or
call our office at 708-794-2140 to learn
more. The more we talk and educate about
domestic violence, the more we can help to prevent it.
Vicki Meilach, ICDVP, Community Outreach
coordinator, South Suburban Family Shelter, Homewood, IL